Behavioral Issues at 3.5 at Preschool

Discussion in 'The Toddler Years(1-3)' started by tracyblessedwith2, Nov 5, 2008.

  1. tracyblessedwith2

    tracyblessedwith2 Well-Known Member

    Hi! I haven't posted in these forums in a long time but am coming back looking for some help. My twins are 3.5 and go to daycare three days a week. They are now in the preschool section at daycare. I had called their teacher today about something else and she said that she was glad I called because she wanted to talk to me about Olivia. They've been having a difficult time with her listening lately. And, they wondered if it was because of the recent teacher change in the class (they brought on a new teacher as their current one will be leaving on maternity leave next month). I told her that we sometimes have a difficult time at home with Olivia listening as well. But, because home is not nearly as structured as a classroom setting, obviously they're seeing more of it.

    The problem seems to be that she doesn't want to participate in any of the activities that go on in the classroom. And, at this age they don't force it. So, if they're going to do an art project and tell all the kids to come over to the table, Olivia will go play with the puzzles, for example. When they have circle time, she refuses to sit in the circle and will do something else. And, as I said, at this age they let her do this. They say that this pretty much happens every day. Today, for example, they were to sit on the floor with their legs crossed in a line waiting to use the bathroom and Olivia refused to sit and was rolling around on the floor intsead.

    I asked them if they thought it was behavioral or developmental and her teacher did say that she felt Olivia was behind the other kids. When asked what I could do to help, she said to maybe start working on letter/number recognition, etc. Well, that threw up a red flag immediately as Olivia has known (recognized) her letters and numbers since she was two. She has known all of her colors/shapes, etc as well and was way ahead of her brother on all of these. However, I guess she hasn't let on to any of her teachers that she knows this stuff and I guess, acts like she does not.

    So, I guess I'm kind of at a loss as to what is going on and what I can do to help. Is her behavior indicating something? Her teacher mentioned that her attention span seems short - and I'm wondering if she's saying ADD?? She's super smart - as I said. Vocab and communication have been slower than her brother but at this point, she's speaking in 8-10+ word sentences so I don't think there's a problem with her communication skills. Social skills seem to be ok - she'll talk to people that she doesn't know, plays with her brother and other kids, although I guess her social skills seem to be somewhat behind him (nothing significant though). Any ideas? Just a phase or something more?

    Many thanks in advance for the help!
  2. sharongl

    sharongl Well-Known Member

    Hi Tracy!

    Olivia sounds a lot like Jon did at that age--although he had some speech issues as well. It sounds like she is having touble with transitions--so she doesn't comply. I would start by asking them if they give her a warning, like "in 5 minutes we will be doing an art project at the table", and see if that makes a difference.

    BTW, when the kicked Jon out of the preschool disabled program, he was described as "having the behavior of an extremely gifted child" :)
  3. KCMichigan

    KCMichigan Well-Known Member

    Is she bored? That would be my first guess---if she knows the material she could be really bored and disinterested.

    I would look into that. Can you go and observe the class--that may also show you 'exactly' what they are talking about.

    You could start a 'log' from the school to home with hourly stickers/checks, etc for positive behavior and good listening. If she has x amount of sticker/stars/checks--she gets a positive reward (special seat, special cup at dinner, choice of dessert---keep it simple), That may also be a good motivator.

    She may also be stressed at the teacher change, one my DDs reacts negatively to ANY change of routine.

    Hope it gets better and sounds like her teacher may need to 'look' at her abilities a bit closer. But that is just my 2c

  4. tracyblessedwith2

    tracyblessedwith2 Well-Known Member

    Thanks to you both for your responses! Yes, I do wonder if she's bored and that could be part of it. I know that she's going thru a phase right now where she doesn't really want to listen, even at home. And, I do know that this is a more recent behavior at school (as far as not participating in group activities) as she's been at that center since she was a year old and it was never a problem before now, so that makes me feel a bit better.

    I was kind of surprised to realize that her teacher had no idea of her skill level. When she told me that Olivia was behind all of the other kids in her class, I was surprised, as I know how smart she is and I know what she knows compared to her brother. But, I thought maybe she was seeing things that I didn't see. So when I asked what I could do to help and she tells me to start working with Olivia on her letter/number recognition, I was suprised to say the least. So, at least the teacher is now aware of her skill level.

    My twins have always been opposites. EJ is my Mr. Social. He had very early communication skills and fantastic social skills. Olivia always paled in comparison in those areas because he was advanced and she was just a bit behind the norm, so the differences were easy to see. Exact opposite with cognitive skills. Olivia was advanced and I would say EJ was on track... but big differences between the two. Olivia was counting to 15 at 18 months, knew all of her numbers, letters, colors very early, etc. So, I've tried hard not to compare them as I know they're different kids, with a different set of skills, abilities, etc.

    But, when a teacher calls to say my child won't participate in group activities at school, says she's developmentally behind the group (only to find out that the teacher just doesn't know her skills because she doesn't show them), it worries me. I don't want her to be excluding herself as this is the age where they need to build those social skills, and I guess its never been her strong point. I'm a worrier, though, and always jump to conclusions too quickly. I think if her teacher was really concerned about her and felt she needed to be evaluated, they would say so, right?
  5. sharongl

    sharongl Well-Known Member

    she needed to be evaluated, they would say so, right

    Maybe. The school that Marcus went to--and Jon started out at, did not hesitate to recommend an evaluation. BUT another preschool in our town, holds off on those recommendations until it is too late to get the child into the preschool program--they don't want to loose the tuition.

    So, it does depend on the school. I am sure if you asked straight up if she needed an eval, they would give you an answer, but they might not want to bring up the subject--you know, who wants to suggest it to the parent of a 3 year old.

    If you think she would benefit from an eval, go for it! It is free and offered through the regular school district, if nothing else, it will give you the peace of mind of being pro-active.
  6. Mellizos

    Mellizos Well-Known Member

    My first reaction is that she is an introvert and is seeking her "alone" time. An introverted child won't take pleasure in circle time and will feel overwhelmed by the constant people and chatter.

    Could that be part of what is going on?
  7. tracyblessedwith2

    tracyblessedwith2 Well-Known Member

    Cathy, she's definitely more an introvert than her brother and always has been. Even at a year old, she could entertain herself with books and toys whereas my son needed a lot more from us. So, I do believe a lot of it is just a big difference in personalities. It's so hard with twins, not to compare. So, I've tried hard in the last year or two to just let them be who they are going to be.

    I think too because she was a bit behind in her vocabulary initially that it made her self conscious. I think that she was aware enough (plus has a brother who speaks very well) to realize that she wasn't quite there. Earlier in the beginning of this year, when she was still struggling with her language, she would literally get embarrassed and stopped trying to say whatever it was that she was trying to tell us. And, I don't know if that embarrassment stuck with her and made her more self conscious? In this new class, they sit in circle time first thing in the morning and talk about feelings, etc. Any child who wants to share his/her feelings can do so. For EJ, this would be right up his alley. For Olivia, I can see her struggling with this. Even though her language has greatly improved, she does still struggle to get her feelings across sometimes. And having to do it in a group would be even more difficult. I consider myself a pretty outgoing person but I still hated those kinds of exercises in school! :)

    Any ideas on what I can do to help improve her confidence? In the last six months her communications skills have improved so much and I've been so happy about that! So, I was taken aback to hear today that she's struggling a bit at school. It makes me sad and I want to help her in anyway I can.

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